This holiday inspired cranberry beer bread recipe is a riff on my super simple beer bread recipe. Whip up this bread on Thanksgiving morning to tide you over until the turkey is done. That’s right, no more buying beer bread mixes. I love baking during the holidays. So much that I stockpile unsalted butter in my freezer just for the purpose of holiday baking. I definitely stock up whenever Land O’Lakes butter is on sale, but love that my Wal-mart offers it at a better price than other stores.
With only 6 ingredients (7 if you count the salt), you can whip this up in less than 10 minutes (not including baking time). I love my beer bread toasted and buttered so why not make a cran-orange butter to compliment it? Follow along for step-by-step photos (printable recipes at end of post).
My little helper woke up from his nap just in time to help. My kids love to bake with me. It’s fun and they get to taste the results afterwards. I let them help whenever I have time.
Tip: Prep and measure all ingredients beforehand when young children are helping you bake.
There”s less mess when you take measuring the ingredients out of the equation. Check out my post for more tips for baking with children. All Jaxson had to do was dump the flour, sugar, baking powder and cranberries in bowl. He mixed everything together and then dumped in the beer. You can use any kind of beer for this recipe, as long as it’s a decent tasting beer that you would personally drink. Even root beer works.
Spread the batter into a loaf pan and bake for 30 minutes. Now add the secret ingredient.
The secret to delicious beer bread is butter.
That’s right, butter. Melt the butter and brush it on the almost done beer bread. Brush and drench that thing in butter. Then stick it back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes so the outside of the cranberry beer bread turns a golden brown and crispy. Trust me on this one. (I’m channeling the Pioneer Woman here.) Once done, turn the bread out onto a wire rack to cool.
Next up: Cran-Orange Butter
Next make the cran-orange butter to take your mind off the fragrance of the delicious cranberry beer bread cooling on a rack next to you. Make sure you leave out the butter while you’re whipping up the bread. I used agave nectar for this recipe, but you an also use honey instead. I used agave nectar because I already had two strong flavors in this recipe. The nectar adds just the right amount of sweetness without overpowering the cranberry and orange flavors.
I pulsed everything in my mini food processor until it was well mixed. But now it’s pretty soft so I scooped it into a container and stuck it in the fridge. Not only does this butter pair well with the cranberry beer bread recipe, it’s perfect for those rolls you’re serving for Thanksgiving dinner.
Turn the beer bread into a holiday gift by putting all the dry ingredients into a jar with a bottle of beer and a stick of butter. Or bake an extra loaf to give as a teacher gift. For more giftable recipe ideas, check out Land O’Lakes holiday brochure or follow them on Facebook or Twitter. These earl grey caramels would make a tasty gift. I might have to make some as a gift to myself.
Printable: Cranberry Beer Bread Recipe + Cran-Orange Butter
- 2½ cups of whole white wheat flour (or 2¾ c of all-purpose flour)
- 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp of baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ⅓ cup of brown sugar
- 1 cup of dried cranberries
- ¼ cup of unsalted butter, melted
- One 12 oz bottle of beer (or root beer)
- For CRAN-ORANGE BUTTER:
- ¼ cup of unsalted butter, softened
- ¼ cup of dried cranberries
- 1 tsp agave nectar (or honey)
- 1 tsp of orange zest
- 1 Tbsp of orange juice
- Preheat oven to 375F
- In medium sized bowl, mix all dry ingredients until well mixed. Break up any cranberry or brown sugar lumps.
- Add the entire bottle of beer all at once. It will foam a bit but mix until beer is incorporated and no dry spots remain. Batter will be lumpy.
- Spread batter evenly into a greased loaf pan and bake for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, remove pan and brush with melted butter. Coat the top thoroughly and let butter drip down the sides.
- Return to oven for an additional 5-10 until golden brown.
- Remove from pan and cool. Serve plain or buttered
- Cran-Orange Butter: Add softened butter, dried cranberries, agave nectar, orange zest and orange juice to food processor and pulse until well mixed. Place into container with lid and refrigerate. To soften before serving, microwave at 5-second intervals until desired softness.